In order to think about the successes, limits and horizons of European municipalism, it is necessary to believe in commonality, taking into account the different scales and drawing inspiration from diverse examples both in form as well as substance. Only in this way can we learn from our local contexts. The contributions from colleagues undoubtedly contributed to this end, drawing a rich and diverse landscape.
Celebrating and acknowledging victories is essential for repeating and replicating them. This is why I do not want to miss the opportunity to recall some of the successes already achieved by municipalist movements in Europe.
The Neapolitan experience with free common spaces and their legal recognition is undoubtedly a benchmark in the management of urban commons. Maria Francesca de Tullio told us some of the key parts of the process to get to where they are today and the future projects of the Italian network of commons. One of the remarkable things about the Neapolitan experience is working outside the institution but with the institution. They are recognising the regulations and the law and working with them under a participatory and democratising logic.
The municipalist reality of Glasgow is probably less known than the Neapolitan one, but the experience of SANE (Solidarity Against Neoliberal extremism) is no less appealing. The People’s Plan for Glasgow and other work by SANE is based on working outside the institutions and fighting the neoliberal mindset through alliances with social movements. Furthermore, it stands out through its use of consultation processes to strengthen the work on neighbourhoods, as well as its capacity to enrich anti-capitalist discourses and practices through the understanding and inclusion of new struggles – such as the fight against the climate crisis.
The French experience is a valuable example that the basis of municipalism is in local democracy and participation. It is possible to focus on people if we are able to do so from the proximity and knowledge that enables day-to-day organising in a genuinely democratic and participatory way. The construction of the candidacy and the work in the institution is essential and inherent tools for municipalism in any city, large or small.
Municipalism in Europe has to be built from the generosity and common learning. Focusing on democracy and local social welfare also involves understanding, respecting and supporting the local autonomy of our fellow municipal leaders. This is how the question about the capability of municipalism to change institutions can be answered: fortunately, municipalism is already changing institutions. In each place in its own way, from inside or outside the institutions, understanding that each place works with very different pre-established conditions but with a common objective: to build a Europe of people and peoples through their enforcement and support of municipal projects.